It is easy to forget that these aren’t yet professional footballers, but youngsters still at school. Their future is by no means guaranteed, and whether they make it to the very top or not an education is vital. Rowan Griffiths is the man to provide that.
“What are you going to do when football ends?” he says, speaking just around the corner from the state-of-the-art classrooms at the new Academy facility. “It’s not if football ends. You could play 500 games in the Premier League, but football is going to end.
“You might have millions in the bank – fantastic, brilliant, really happy for you. But are you going to be healthy and happy and content just playing golf all day? If you are, brilliant, but I’d like to think they got to that level because of the challenge, and they still want to work and still want to achieve.
“That’s why we’ve got ex-Premier League players working with us now. They’re here because they’ve got a passion to work and to achieve. Hopefully, even if the players are successful they’ll want to do something else in another life.
“You finish at 36 and hopefully you’ve got that amount of time and more to live again. So that’s what we’re trying to build into the thought process.”